New South Wales is cracking down on the tobacco industry, announcing today the introduction of tough new laws to reduce smoking, including a complete ban on the display of cigarettes in shops.
Quit has applauded the move, urging the Victorian Government to announce plans to put cigarettes out of sight immediately.
Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said by banning tobacco displays in shops the NSW Government will wipe out a crucial avenue the tobacco industry use to advertise their deadly product to young people, thereby encouraging them to take up the habit.
"You'd be naive to think these tobacco displays in shops are anything other than showy advertisements for a product that will eventually kill half of long-term users."
"At the moment cigarettes have the best real estate in a store. They are the first thing most people see when going into a shop, usually near ordinary items like newspapers, bread and lollies. This gives the false impression that these products are harmless."
In NSW large stores will have six months, and small stores will have a year to put tobacco products completely out of sight.
"One the most impressive aspects of the NSW Government's plan is that the ban on the display of cigarettes are complete and comprehensive and does leave any room for a partial displays."
"We would strongly urge the Victorian Government who are considering display bans, to remain strong in the face of tobacco industry pressure and refuse give in to any demands for partial bans, which would undermine the purpose of the law completely."
Ms Sharkie said retailers in Victoria who may be concerned with the impact of the display ban need only look overseas, where bans already exist, to have their fears allayed.
"In Canada, where several provinces have removed cigarettes from sight, retailers predicted their profits would be eroded. However, in 2006 the director of the Western Convenience Stores Association in Canada stated that the display ban ‘has not impaired sales' at all," said Ms Sharkie.
Today's announcement of tobacco reforms in NSW also included a ban on smoking in cars with children under sixteen years old, a move that Ms Sharkie also encouraged the Victorian Government to adopt.
The Victorian Government is expected to announce its 5-year Tobacco Strategy in the forthcoming weeks.
Fiona Sharkie is available for comment on 03 9635 5522 or 0437 347 007
Further information: Edwina Pearse, Media Manager, ph: (03) 9635 5400 mobile: 0417 303 811 email: email@example.com
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